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2016 Architecture Award Winners

Contact: Cody Upton

(212) 368-5900

New York, March 29, 2016 – The American Academy of Arts and Letters announces the recipients of its 2016 architecture awards. The Academy’s annual architecture awards program began in 1955 with the inauguration of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize and has since expanded to include four Arts and Letters Awards. This year’s winners were chosen from a group of 35 individuals and practices nominated by the members of the Academy. The jurors were Elizabeth Diller (chairman), Henry N. Cobb, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Hugh Hardy, Steven Holl, Cesar Pelli, James Polshek, Robert A. M. Stern, and Tod Williams.

The awards will be presented in New York City in May at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial. Work by the winners will be featured in an upcoming exhibition on view in the Academy’s galleries on Audubon Terrace from May 19 to June 12.


Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize
$20,000 to an architect of any nationality who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.

Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to an American architect whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to an American architect whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
nA_NP_Grand Stair to Skyline_web
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to an American architect whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to an American who explores ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.
Photo Captions: 1. Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Phyllis Lambert in front of an image of the model for the Seagram Building, NYC, 1954-1958. Collection Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal © United Press International. 2. New York Public Library Stapleton Branch, Andrew Berman Architects. 3. Greensboro Boys and Girls Club, Rural Studio. 4. Chicago Navy Pier, nARCHITECTS with masterplan and lead design of pier by James Corner Field Operations. 5. Theodore Prudon, Prudon & Partners.


Phyllis Lambert, architect, author, scholar, activist and Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, “is the conscience of modern and contemporary architecture, protecting its past and advocating for its future as a vital art form,” said Elizabeth Diller. Lambert first made architectural history in 1954 as the Director of Planning for the Seagram Building in New York City, “one of the great acts of architectural patronage in modern times” (Robert A. M. Stern). Lambert went on to found Héritage Montréal in 1975, and in 1979 was instrumental in establishing the Société d’Amélioration de Milton-Parc, the largest non-profit cooperative housing renovation project in Canada. In 1996, she formed the Fonds d’Investissement de Montréal, the only private investment fund in Canada participating in the revitalization of housing in low- and medium-income neighborhoods. In 1979, she established the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and was Chair of its Board of Trustees for 34 years. “Under Lambert’s leadership,” said Stern, “the CCA has amassed an incomparable library and staggering archive of drawings, and has mounted important public programs that have done much to rescue the profession of architecture from inertia and amnesia.”

Andrew Berman’s architecture, said Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, “is defined by a calm intelligence that produces places that sing with a clear and pure beauty. It is strong and minimal and at the same time very human and humane.” Berman’s New York-based practice, which he founded in 1995, uses natural light, carefully chosen views, and thoughtful, simple materials to create welcoming and elevating spaces. “His work is a sublime container for thinking, for seeing, and for life lived,” said Williams and Tsien. Notable projects include the Stapleton Branch Library in Staten Island, 2013; MoMA PS1 Entrance Building, 2012; SculptureCenter renovation and expansion, 2009; Writing Studio and Library, Long Island, 2008; and Center for Architecture, 2003. The off-Broadway MCC Theater is expected to be completed in 2018.

Andrew Freear is the director of Auburn University’s Rural Studio, a design-build program for undergraduates that was founded by Samuel Mockbee in 1993 to serve West Alabama’s impoverished Black Belt region. “As director since 2002,” said Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, “Freear has both taken up the mantle of Mockbee and laid it aside, moving the Studio towards a more practical disposition while keeping the level of design at the highest mark.” Freear and a handful of students have designed and constructed dozens of projects for the local community, including the Perry Lakes Park in Marion, 2001-2005; Newbern Fire Station, 2004; Lions Park in Greensboro, 2006-present; Rural Studio Farm in Newbern, 2011-present; and Greensboro Boys and Girls Club, 2012. The 20K Homes project, which began in 2005, and gets its name from the highest realistic mortgage a person receiving median Social Security checks can maintain, has delivered seventeen affordable houses to Hale County residents. “Freear’s unbelievable commitment and the results he has achieved, balance pragmatism with heroism,” said Williams and Tsien.

Mimi Hoang and Eric Bunge of nARCHITECTS, said Kenneth Frampton, “have, in a relatively short time, established a unique approach to architecture, focusing on the economic transformation of existing conditions through a range of ingenious interventions.” Their practice, which they founded in 1999, designs for a dynamic variety of users and uses, from large-scale public space (Chicago Navy Pier redesign, 2012-16) to intimate 260 to 360 sq. foot apartments (Carmel Place, New York City, 2013-15). “Bunge and Hoang have invariably made an exceptionally sensitive, playful, and appropriate use of a wide range of materials,” said Frampton. “They are also acutely aware of the issue of sustainability as this pertains to building practice in our time.” Other notable works include the Wyckoff House Museum, New York, 2011-2017; MoMA Rising Currents Exhibition, 2009-10; Switch Building and Gallery, 2004-06; and MoMA PS1 Canopy, 2004.

Theodore Prudon is an architect, preservationist, architectural engineer, author, and educator. “While many significant historic buildings no longer exist and can only be celebrated in print,” said James Polshek, “many notable modernist buildings are now preserved, restored, and experienced in reality. It is this latter gift to architecture and the general culture that Theodore Prudon has conveyed through his stewardship as founding partner of the not-for-profit entity dedicated to the Documentation and Conservation of the Modernist Movement (Docomomo). His persistence, scholarship, refined visual judgment, and leadership have allowed him to sustain and expand this unique and effective organization.” Notable projects in New York City include the Woolworth and Chrysler Buildings, the New York Public Library, and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dr. Prudon teaches at Columbia’s GSAPP.

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